United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
F. ANDERSON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Hazel Stoudemire, Jr. (“Plaintiff”), proceeding
pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on
October 19, 2018 against Defendants James K. Robertson,
Cobourn & Saleeby LLP, Spartanburg County Clerk of Court,
and N. Douglas Brannon (“Defendants”). (ECF No.
1). Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction
on November 9, 2018. (ECF No. 12). In accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e)
(D.S.C.), this case was referred to a Magistrate Judge for
Magistrate Judge prepared a thorough Report and
Recommendation (“Report”) and opines that this Court
should dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (ECF No. 1) with
prejudice and without issuance and service of process, count
the dismissal as a strike pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(g), and deny Plaintiff's Motion for
Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 12). (ECF No. 15 at 15). The
Report sets forth, in detail, the relevant facts and
standards of law on this matter, and this Court incorporates
those facts and standards without a recitation. (ECF No. 15).
The Magistrate Judge required Plaintiff to file objections by
December 3, 2018 (ECF No. 15), Plaintiff filed his Objections
on December 7, 2018 (ECF No. 18), and the Court accepted the
late-filed Objections pursuant to the prisoner mailbox rule
and Rule 6(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
(“FRCP”). Accordingly, this matter is ripe for
district court is required to conduct a de novo
review only of the specific portions of the Magistrate
Judge's Report to which objections are made. See
28 U.S.C. § 636(b); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); see also
Carniewski v. W.Va. Bd. of Prob. & Parole, 974 F.2d
1330 (4th Cir. 1992). In the absence of specific objections
to portions of the Magistrate Judge's Report, this Court
is not required to give an explanation for adopting the
Report. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th
Cir. 1983). Thus, the Court must only review those portions
of the Report to which Plaintiff has made specific written
objections. Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins.
Co., 416 F.3d 310, 316 (4th Cir. 2005).
objection is specific if it ‘enables the district judge
to focus attention on those issues- factual and legal-that
are at the heart of the parties' dispute.'”
Dunlap v. TM Trucking of the Carolinas, LLC, No.
0:15-cv-04009-JMC, 2017 WL 6345402, at *5 n.6 (D.S.C. Dec.
12, 2017) (citing One Parcel of Real Prop. Known as 2121
E. 30th St., 73 F.3d 1057, 1059 (10th Cir. 1996)). A
specific objection to the Magistrate Judge's Report thus
requires more than a reassertion of arguments from the
Complaint or a mere citation to legal authorities. See
Workman v. Perry, No. 6:17-cv-00765-RBH, 2017 WL
4791150, at *1 (D.S.C. Oct. 23, 2017). A specific objection
must “direct the court to a specific error in the
magistrate's proposed findings and
recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d
44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982).
stated, nonspecific objections have the same effect as would
a failure to object.” Staley v. Norton, No.
9:07-0288-PMD, 2007 WL 821181, at *1 (D.S.C. Mar. 2, 2007)
(citing Howard v. Sec'y of Health and Human
Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991)). The Court
reviews portions “not objected to-including those
portions to which only ‘general and conclusory'
objections have been made-for clear error.”
Id. (emphasis added) (citing Diamond, 416
F.3d at 315; Camby, 718 F.2d at 200;
Orpiano, 687 F.2d at 47).
an objection is “nonspecific, unrelated to the
dispositive portions of the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation, or merely restate[s] . . . claims, ”
the Court need not conduct any further review of that
objection. Field v. McMaster, 663 F.Supp.2d 449, 452
(D.S.C. 2009); see also McNeil v. S.C. Dept. of
Corrections, No. 5:12-2880-MGL, 2013 WL 1102881, at *1
(D.S.C. Mar. 15, 2013) (finding petitioner's objections
to be without merit where the objections were
“non-specific, unrelated to the dispositive portions of
the Magistrate Judge's Report, and consist[ed] of a
reassertion of the arguments” made in the petition);
Arbogast v. Spartanburg Cty., No.
07:11-cv-00198-GRA, 2011 WL 5827635, at *2 (D.S.C. Nov. 17,
2011) (finding that plaintiff's objections were not
specific where the objections were “general and
conclusory in that they merely reassert[ed] that his
conviction was wrongful.”).
Report, the Magistrate Judge deciphers that, even though
Plaintiff states that he seeks injunctive relief, the
substance of his argument reveals he actually appears to
bring claims of negligence against Defendants for damages.
(ECF No. 15 at 12). Accordingly, the Report recommends that
this Court dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint because it: 1)
fails to state a § 1983 claim against the two
court-appointed lawyers (and the Defendant law firm), as
these parties were not “state actors” for
purposes of § 1983; 2) sues the Clerk of Court (in
official capacity), who is protected by Eleventh Amendment
immunity; 3) sues the Clerk of Court (in individual
capacity), who is protected by absolute quasi-judicial
immunity; 4) fails to state a plausible claim for denial of a
constitutional right (i.e. negligence claims are not
actionable under § 1983); and 5) seeks relief that is
not appropriate in this § 1983 action (i.e. Plaintiff
should pursue normal state appellate procedures rather than
filing a federal lawsuit for damages). (ECF No. 15 at 14-15).
Ultimately, the Complaint “fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted” and “seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief,
” and therefore, is subject to summary dismissal
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), and such
dismissal should count as a strike for purposes of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(g). (ECF No. 15 at 15). Further, the Report
recommends that this Court deny Plaintiff's Motion for
Preliminary Injunction because it appears to request relief
that is duplicative of the relief sought in the Complaint and
because it fails to show that any of the elements for
issuance of a preliminary injunction are in his favor. (ECF
No. 15 at 12-13). The Report concludes that Plaintiff's
claims are legally baseless, and factual amendment would be
futile. (ECF No. 15 at 150).
Response, Plaintiff's “Objections” merely
reiterate his arguments. (ECF No. 18). He maintains that his
court-appointed counsel and the Clerk of Court acted under
color of state law for purposes of § 1983 liability
because of their appointment by the state. (ECF No. 18). But
as the Magistrate Judge already noted in the Report, even if
Plaintiff's conclusory allegations are liberally
construed as claims of ineffective assistance of counsel,
this § 1983 action is not the proper vehicle for
asserting them. (ECF No. 15 at 11). Such claims are properly
brought in a petition for writ of habeas corpus after
exhaustion of state remedies, and Plaintiff does not indicate
he has availed himself of the available state appellate
process. (ECF No. 15 at 11). Here, Plaintiff's Objections
fail to “direct the court to a specific error in the
magistrate's proposed findings and
recommendations.” Orpiano, 687 F.2d at 47. As
such, Plaintiff's Objections are not specific to the
Report, and the Court may therefore adopt the Report without
an explanation. See McMaster, 663 F.Supp.2d at 452;
see also Norton, 2007 WL 821181, at *1.
carefully reviewing the applicable laws, the record in this
case, as well as the Report, this Court finds the Magistrate
Judge's recommendation fairly and accurately summarizes
the facts and applies the correct principles of law.
Consequently, the Court adopts the Report (ECF No. 15).
Therefore, Plaintiff's Complaint (ECF No. 1) is dismissed
with prejudice and without ...